Fonseca: ‘Smalling out against Parma’

Paulo Fonseca warns Chris Smalling is out of Roma’s match with Parma, while Borja Mayoral will lead the way upfront. ‘Results have given everyone confidence.’

It kicks off on Sunday 14.00 GMT, click here for a match preview.

“Lorenzo Pellegrini trained with us today, he is not in the best condition, but he’s in the squad. Chris Smalling is not ready and will not play,” said the coach in his press conference.

Edin Dzeko, Federico Fazio, Davide Santon and Marash Kumbulla are also still out after testing positive for COVID-19.

“Henrikh Mkhitaryan does work as a False 9, but I can confirm Borja Mayoral will replace Dzeko tomorrow. Gonzalo Villar will also be starting.

“We’ve had time to work in training and a coach always needs time to get his ideas across and create an identity for the team. This side plays differently to the way it did in the past and results have also given everyone more confidence.

“I like Parma, they are a solid team and very dangerous on the counter-attack with Gervinho, so it’ll be important we reduce the spaces for them to run into.”

Fonseca was asked about reports former Roma director of sport Gianluca Petrachi had suggested the successful move to a three-man defence.

“I like to discuss things with the directors, exchange ideas, but it was my decision after months of experience and getting to know the team well,” insisted the coach.

There is going to be a new director at the club from January, fellow Portuguese Tiago Pinto, who was poached from Benfica.

“It was a decision made by the President and had nothing to do with me. Tiago Pinto is a great sporting director, who comes from a big club, and I am happy.

“The important thing is that we work as a team, then we can all contribute to choosing what is best for Roma.”


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